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#51500 - 08/09/17 05:04 PM Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone
Kumar12 Offline

Registered: 02/01/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I will be doing Mt Whitney as a day hike on Sept. 2nd week. Since there is no cell coverage, I am planning to rent a satellite phone or SPOT. Does anybody has any experience with either of these devices?
Which one is better? How is the coverage for Satellite phone and SPOT on the main Whitney trial?


Edited by Kumar12 (08/09/17 05:37 PM)

#51501 - 08/09/17 05:58 PM Re: Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone [Re: Kumar12]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Either of those will work on the Whitney trail. Spot is much cheaper and can be purchased in outdoor shops, like REI. Go to the Spot Messenger website for details. The only drawback on Spot is that you can't carryon a conversation, but only report progress or emergencies. The Delorme system allows texting, but is quite expensive.

Keep in mind that you will be meeting a lot of people on that trail, so it isn't likely you will be all alone in case of emergency.

Edited by Bob West (08/09/17 06:02 PM)

#51504 - 08/09/17 09:46 PM Re: Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone [Re: Kumar12]
GandC Offline

Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 250
Loc: SoCal
I went with the DeLorme In Reach. I can text back and forth with my wife (or anyone else for that matter) from wherever. It isn't cheap, but SPOT just kept raising their prices and raising their prices, and it got to the point that if I was going to be spending that kind of money, I'd rather be able to do more than send some preset messages that may or may not apply to my current situation.
One day I'd like to hike the entire John Muir Trail and not leave a single footprint. -Randy Morgenson

#51505 - 08/09/17 11:02 PM Re: Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone [Re: GandC]
Kumar12 Offline

Registered: 02/01/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I am planning to rent Iridium 9555 from Verizon for a week. Any experience with this?


#51506 - 08/09/17 11:19 PM Re: Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone [Re: Kumar12]
SoCal Jim Offline

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 24
Loc: Santee, CA
(DeLorme was bought by Garmin.) You can text back and forth with your significant others with the inReach, which does cost more upfront. However, SPOT charges $199/year for service which is not two-way communication. An inReach subscription is as little as $12/month. And you can subscribe monthly as needed. I've heard of people who are completely satisfied with SPOT, and others who complain of rising costs, automatically renewing subscription service (unless that's changed), and poor customer service.

#51508 - 08/10/17 12:44 AM Re: Mount Whitney Hike: Spot or Satellite Phone [Re: SoCal Jim]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7483
Loc: Fresno, CA
I'm retiring my SPOT and bought a used InReach SE. My SPOT subscription came up at $180 this year. No thank you. (Anybody want a SPOT I or SPOT II? Make me an offer!)

My InReach cheapo rate costs $15 per month (that's $180 for the year), but then tracking and texting costs extra--per track point and per text message. But for the few hikes I get in these days, an extra $5 for the day isn't a big deal.

I carried a friend's Iridium phone on several extended trips, and it is like the SPOT -- does not work when no satellite is in view. It always worked on summits and wide-open areas. But down in a valley, I'd have to wait a while before it would connect. Or I'd connect and be talking, and the connection quality would fade out and then drop the call. Wait more minutes, then try again--the screen shows when a satellite is available.

My SPOT could never get a signal out below Lone Pine Lake -- the canyon is just too deep and narrow, so satellites are few and infrequent. The InReach will not blindly send tracking points like the SPOT does. Instead, it waits for an available sat, and then sends. So it's tracking is more dependable. -- I need to try it out on the Whitney Trail to prove this out.

Nice thing about InReach texting, too, is that it waits for satellite before it transmits your text. So in that way, it is actually better than the sat phone.

You don't need that sat phone. Just go with a cell phone, or use a texting satellite unit if you want to spend all that cash.